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#540502 - 30th Jun 2011 4:51pm Police concern over 'bizarre' bail ruling
willo
Unregistered


Murderers, rapists and violent criminals could escape prosecution following a "bizarre" legal ruling.

The ruling, made by a district judge at Salford Magistrates' Court and backed by the High Court, means an end to the practice of releasing people on bail and calling them back for further questioning later - a common practice in most major inquiries.

Police forces can no longer put anyone out on bail for more than 96 hours without either being in a position to charge or release them.

After the four days is up, officers can no longer question suspects and can only re-arrest them if they have new evidence, the ruling says.

Police chiefs have been left baffled by the "bizarre" ruling and both the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo)and the Crown Prosecution Service are currently considering the ramifications for forces across England and Wales.

Sir Norman Bettison, former Merseyside chief constable and now chief constable of West Yorkshire Police, said: "This means unless this is overturned police can no longer put anyone out on bail for more than 96 hours without either being in a position to charge or release.

"It's on the verge of a disaster now because the question being asked by my custody sergeants is, 'What do we do, boss?'

"I cannot countenance turning people away from the charge office and telling them all bets are off and they are free to go."

Merseyside Police said that as of yesterday, there were 2,984 people out on bail across the county.

A statement by Acpo said: "This ruling has a profound impact on how the police have investigated crime under a legal framework interpreted and used during the last 25 years.

"Unless overturned, the indications are is that police can no longer put anyone out on bail for more than 96 hours without either being in a position to charge or release.

“We are working in partnership with colleagues across the criminal justice system, including the Crown Prosecution Service and Home Office, to determine a sensible way forward and seek to reduce any immediate impact.

"Chief officers have significant concerns as to the effect it will have on policing.”

Home Secretary Theresa May said: "I think this is a matter of great concern. We're working with Acpo at the moment and looking at a number of possibilities as to how we can advise the police on this issue.

"There may be an opportunity to appeal this decision. We are also looking at whether or not it's necessary to introduce legislation in order to deal with this issue.

"We are conscious of the concerns this judgment has brought in terms of operational policing."

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#540507 - 30th Jun 2011 5:02pm Re: Police concern over 'bizarre' bail ruling [Re: ]
rocks Offline

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Registered: 2nd Apr 2011
Posts: 6630
Loc: 3/4 of the way there....
i think thats what you call "the shit has hit the fan!" for the cops
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#540573 - 30th Jun 2011 7:52pm Re: Police concern over 'bizarre' bail ruling [Re: ]
TheDr Offline
Forum Master

Registered: 23rd Feb 2010
Posts: 2631
Loc: Wirral
The problem has been caused by the "charge or let go" within 96 hours of arrest. The police have always read this as meaning 96hours IN CUSTODY, so if they released you on bail, the clock stopped until you answered you bail.

I don't see anything changing dramatically with this, many people are on bail whilst lab tests are done or winesses checked/alibis confirmed. If you gave an alibi which couldn't be checked for a week as someone was on holiday which would you prefer, the whole case being thrown out (not going to happen) or you being charged and perhaps held in jail until your alibi was checked.

The other problem is of course that many people are released to return a day or two later, this wouldn't happen and they would be held in cells for days, which would mean an increase and overcrowding.

I can see emergency laws being drafted in to overule this judgement pending a full hearing and hopefully a full review of the bail act.

If no-one thinks it needs looking at consider this: you are arrested for perhaps an affray in town, you weren't part of it but you were there so were taken in whilst cctv was reviewed. You're only in custody for a few hours then released on bail, the police can (and do) impose conditions on your bail, perhaps not to go into the town, maybe stay away from certain people, or a variety of other restrictions. because you're not in custody this could go on for weeks, or even months, then to get a letter in the post saying they were taking no further action, despite these restrictions on your liberty having been in place. (oh and no this isn't a personal example)

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#540856 - 1st Jul 2011 3:40pm Re: Police concern over 'bizarre' bail ruling [Re: TheDr]
Martin1943 Offline
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Registered: 26th Jan 2011
Posts: 252
Loc: Moreton
The Cops took eighteen months to "consider" my case which was the result of a unsupported false allegation by a vindictive neighbour. They then "voided" the case, meaning that it had "never existed" (quote by them to my solicitor). This cannot be fair or justified.
My life was totally disrupted for the entire period, they controlled who I could talk to, where I could go or what I could do. I was on the point of emigrating: they said that, if I did that, they would put out an warrant for me. My house Sale fell through as well.

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#541116 - 2nd Jul 2011 1:54pm Re: Police concern over 'bizarre' bail ruling [Re: ]
BandyCoot Offline

Forum Veteran

Registered: 7th Dec 2008
Posts: 5346
Loc: Birkenhead
I suppose your view on this one will be coloured by whether you are a victim or a perpetrator. Either way I don't think it bodes well for victims. Some of the judgements coming down from these judges we have are rather bizarre to say the least.
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